in reply to Reading a file with utf8 data
If UTF-8 data is important to you, you need to insist on having perl 5.8+. 5.6.1 was almost there, but not good enough.
Your open statement would be fine in 5.8 aside from not checking return status. The difficulty is likeliest coming from the PerlIO mode argument. PerlIO wasn't the default until 5.8.